Parasports April 2, 2020
Mumbai Marathon achievement wins Varun Sawant place in Asia Book of Records
Varun Sawant made history earlier this year by becoming the first person with autism to run a full marathon. Varun completed the full run of 42 kilometres in the 2020 Tata Mumbai Marathon in four hours and 27 minutes. This had won him a place in the India Book of Records earlier and now he has also entered the Asia Book of Records.
The honours just keep pouring in for young Varun Sawant. The 21-year-old Mumbai lad made headlines this year when he became the first Indian with autism to complete the full marathon of 42 kilometres in four hours and 27 minutes. Varun did this while running the 2020 Tata Mumbai Marathon. This has earned him a place in the Asia Book of Records.
Mom Darshana Chavan Sawant is happy and proud of Varun’s achievement. “We knew that he had entered the India Book of Records and we just got the news that he has entered the Asia Book of Records for completing a full marathon in this time record. This is wonderful news and we are very happy”.
World record next
Varun has his sights set on the next goal, which is to enter the Guinness Book of Records. He needs to work on building his stamina and plans to start training once the coronavirus lockdown ends.
Varun is also a swimmer and he cycles as well so there are many things we are looking at simultaneously for him. One possibility is that he does the triathlon and for that he needs to work on improving his stamina. The triathlon will give him the right start. He also needs to correct some of his swimming techniques and we will start working on that. – Darshana Chavan Sawant, Varun’s mother
Affinity for sports
A natural at sports, Varun started swimming soon after he was diagnosed with autism at two-and-half-years. The frequent rains in Mumbai forced a stop to his practise sessions and his parents decided to introduce him to running. He took to it like a natural and showed keen concentration abilities which led his running coach to encourage him to train for the full marathon. “I have trained many children with autism but Varun’s concentration levels are quite special and amazing”, says coach Kaushik Panchal.
Swimming comes with some challenges for a person on the spectrum, the main one being swimming in a crowd. “Goa and Kolhapur have closed water swimming triathlons”, says Darshana. “He has to get accustomed to the process gradually”.
The Sawants have already identified a swimming coach who is experienced on training for triathlons for young Varun. “Once he finishes his final year of college later this year, we will be in a better position to start looking at his training and other plans”, says Darshana.
Given this young man’s awesome concentration powers and determination levels, the Guinness record looks certain. Visually impaired marathoner Vineet Saraiwala, who ran with Varun at a Mumbai event, has high praise for his abilities. “Varun is probably be the fastest runner on the spectrum and his single-minded aggression with focus is something I wish to learn”.
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